You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths.
~Psalm 88:6, NIV
Discouragement is not from God.
~Ignatius of Loyola
I was doing my daily bible reading this past week and the word “pit” kept coming up. David uses it a lot in his Psalms. My first thoughts were–a pit is a deep dark hole in the ground and for a change, I was exactly right. The Hebrew word for pit [well, cistern, dungeon] is ‘bore’. I kid you not, just like boring a hole with a auger or brace and bit. The Hebrews were famous for digging pits. They used them for many things: mainly to store water. But pits were used for other things like trapping animals, hiding from the enemy, or even a place to put your enemy or someone you were punishing. Two very famous bible character spent quite a bit of time in the pits. Joseph was throw into a pit twice. First by his outlaw brothers and then by Potiphar. The word translated prison in Genesis is the same word ‘bore’ so technically, Joseph was in the pit twice. Jeremiah may hold the record: we don’t know how many times they put him in the pit. He would have died in this deep dark hold had it not been for Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, who worked for the king Zedekiah. No one is scripture had a tougher battle with depression and discouragement than Jeremiah. I am prone to get discouraged just thinking about it. He was never appreciated by anyone. Due to his calling and the difficult days in which he lived, he never had a wife or children. Really, the man never had a life other than being God’s spokesman to a rebellious nation that was bent on destruction. His dream was to get back to his family farm but it never happened. He was forced to go to Egypt where he died. We have no biblical record but according to tradition Jeremiah was stoned to death by the Jews who forced him to go to Egypt.
I heard a preacher say some 50 years ago that the devil has a tool shed and discouragement is his favorite tool: the one he uses most. It did take me awhile to realize the truth stated in today’s quote but I have learned that discouragement always comes from the devil. God has no reason to discourage us. It is really sad: some folks, and many of them claim to be believers, seem to enjoy discouraging others, especially those in places of leadership. I warn young preachers about this: you better understand where discouragement comes from or you will not last long in the ministry. The devil not only has the tools, he has plenty of helpers to use the tools.
I got to thinking about these young girls that cheer lead. They jump up, shout, clap and encourage the audience to do the same and we just sit there and look at them like a calf at a new gate. How do they keep from getting discouraged with they get such a poor response? It is the same thing when you lead worship. A large percent just sit there and less than one in hundred sing with any enthusiasm. Our worship is to be God-pleasing but I don’t think He’s pleased with our worship. The biggest knock against the church at Laodicea was that they had no enthusiasm.
My main thought for the day is how do we get ourselves out of the pit. Jeremiah and Joseph got in so deep, they couldn’t get themselves out. Ebed-melech threw a rope to Jeremiah then he had some servants pull him up and out of the pit. Instead of putting people in the pit with your insults and discouraging words, why not try throwing them a rope and helping them out. Our pride can get us in a lot of trouble: we all need help from time to time and it sure wouldn’t hurt us to help someone else. How many folks did you encourage this week? How many did you discourage? Who are you serving? When we discourage others, it is not Christ who is leading us. Do them math: it isn’t rocket science.
All is quiet at the moment. The radar is clear at the moment but another band of T-storms is headed our way. Flooding will be a problem in many places. Elk river is backed up and over Highway 99. We are getting lots of rain all the way up the Tennessee river which means it is coming our way. I am assuming the rivers will rise for the next three or four days. We’ve been spared to some extend but the run off is going to cause our neighbors just East of us. No Business only lacks a couple of feet go over the bridge on Iron Man.
Charles Sanders just shot me a text: Watch AMERICAN GOSPEL: CHRIST ALONE. He says it is very good. I watched the tailor but plan to watch the entire thing tomorrow.